from: King Arthur's Death: The Middle English Stanzaic Morte Arthur and Alliterative Morte Arthure 1994
Alliterative Morte Arthure, Part III
ALLITERATIVE MORTE ARTHURE: FOOTNOTES1 Harmful Scotland with skill he rules as it pleases him
2 From Swynn (an arm of the North Sea near Zeeland) to Sweden, with his sharp sword
3 Created and gave out dukedoms in diverse realms
4 Caerleon; skillfully made
5 Where he might assemble his followers to review when it pleased him
6 Bishops and young knights (bachelers) and noble senior knights (bannerettes)
7 As the bold men at the table were served with bread (the first course)
8 And then (he bowed) again to the man (Arthur) and delivered his message
9 Think it not a trifle, his shield (armorial device) is to be seen hereon
10 August 1; hindrance found
11 Burn Britain the broad (Great Britain) and beat down your knights / And with anger bring you compliantly as a beast where he pleases / And you shall not sleep nor rest under the great heaven, / Though for fear of Rome you run to the earth (like a hunted animal)
12 The king looked on the man with his large eyes, / Which burned very fiercely like coals because of (his) anger
13 It is loyal (our duty) for us to do his pleasure
14 There is a certain man in this hall, and he was sorely grieved / That you dared not look on him once for all Lombardy (as a reward)
15 In appearance; lies; you seem
16 Since; country; holy oil
17 Don't save money on spices, but spend what you please
18 If you guard my honor, man, by my pledged word, / You shall have very great rewards that will profit you forever
19 Now are they nobly lodged and regarded as guests
20 In chambers with chimneys (heat), they change their clothes
22 All with men trained and taught, in very rich clothes, / All of royal blood in a troop, sixty together
23 Flesh fattened in season with noble frumentee (a wheat dish), / Along with wild (game) to choose, and pleasant birds
24 Very many large swans on silver platters, / Pies of Turkey, to be tasted by whomever it pleases
25 Then shoulders of wild boars, with the lean meat sliced, / Barnacle geese and bitterns in pastry-covered dishes
26 Wavy with azure-colored sauce all over, and they appeared to be flaming; / From each slice the flame leaped very high
27 With pastries glazed with egg yolks and many (other) dainties
28 Then Claret and Cretan wine were cunningly made to flow / By conduits that were skillfully made, all of pure silver
29 With great jewels gilded over, glorious of hue
30 So that if any poison should go secretly under them (in the cup), / The bright gold would burst all to pieces with anger, / Or else the poison should lose its power because of the virtue of the precious stones
31 Therefore, without pretending (that you are enjoying it), force yourself all the more
32 Went round very quickly in russet-colored (gold) cups
33 Smiles at him pleasantly with pleasing features
34 sadness because of the ban
35 You take account of no circumstances, nor consider (the matter) any further
36 stately man; Brittany
37 Arrested them unjustly and afterwards held them for ransom
38 At Lamas (August 1) I shall take my leave, to remain freely / In Lorraine or Lombardy, whichever seems preferable to me
39 riders; excellent; siege
40 Unless he (the eagle) is quickly rescued by vigorous knights
42 Before any day's fight (the major battle) begins, to joust with himself (Lucius)
43 Despite the strong (ones) in battle that remain in his troop
44 Within a week from today with one hundred and twenty knights
45 If I can see the Romans, who are considered so powerful, / Arrayed in their riotous groups on a broad field.
46 Ride through all the company, rear guard and the rest, / To make a ready way and paths full spacious
47 He needs be afraid; such
48 When they had confidently discussed (this business), they blew on trumpets afterwards (conclusion of the council)
49 Seize the revenues, in faith, of all those fair realms, / Despite the threat of his power and regardless of his resistance
50 With safe-conduct and credentials; go where you please
51 I shall assign the resting-places for your journey, order them myself
52 stoutly from. Wherever you set down by night you must by necessity remain
53 Lodge yourself under trees, wherever it seems good to you
54 Whether (my order) is now hateful or a hindrance in your mind
55 You shall be speedily beheaded and torn apart by horses, / And then quickly hanged for dogs to gnaw.
56 They dress themselves worthily in precious clothes
57 I summoned him solemnly (to appear in Rome) with his knights looking on
58 Since; born; fearful (afraid)
59 I advise you to prepare yourself therefore and delay no longer
60 A watch-tower shall be raised on Mount Goddard (in the Alps)
61 Equipped with noble bachelors and bannerets (see note to line 68)
62 To Ambyganye and Orcage (Albania?) and Alexandria as well, / To India and to Armenia, where the Euphrates runs
63 Hyrcania; Elam; outer isles
64 From Persia and Pamphilia and Prester John's lands
65 By this time; prepared
66 At the Octave of St. Hillary's day (i.e., a week after January 24) Sir Arthur himself
67 To outrage my enemy, if a chance should appear
68 See that my forests are enclosed (from poachers), on pain of losing my favor, / That no one be allowed to hunt the game except for Guinevere herself, / And even she is to hunt only at the season when the game are fat enough to be hunted, / So that she will take her pleasure at appropriate times
69 earthly prosperity; as well
70 Sheriffs sharply move the common soldiers about, / Give orders (to their men) before the powerful (men) of the Round Table
71 Large ships and small boats then hoist their sails
72 Stoutly on the gunwale they weigh up their anchors
73 Launch the lead on the luff (the bow) to measure the depth of the water
74 And all the stern men of the stream (sailors) struck sail at once
75 Wandering unbecomingly; surging waves
76 Covered with waves of azure, enamelled (colored) very fair; / His shoulders were all covered with scales of pure silver / That clothed the monster with shrinking points (like mail)
77 Then came out of the East, directly against him, / A wild, black bear above in the clouds, / With each paw as big as a post, and palms very huge, / With very perilous claws that seemed all curling; / Hateful and loathly, his hair and the rest, / With legs all bowed, covered with ugly hair / That was churlishly matted, with foaming lips
78 So violently he stamped on it (the earth) to enjoy himself
79 He reared up on his hind legs so rudely that all the earth was shaken
80 Thus he beat down the bear and killed him
81 These dreams so oppress the king aboard the ship / That he nearly bursts for pain on the bed
where he lies
82 Before I must die quickly, interpret my dream for me
83 trumpet calls; boldly
84 And as many infants (baptized babies) of noble children
85 I would give the revenues of all of France for the past fifteen years / To have been even a furlong from that man
86 visor; face guard; plated
87 He puts on the arm straps (braces) of a broad shield and asks for his sword
88 They tie their horses with a good distance between them
89 And afterwards you shall make your offerings, each after the other
90 You crossed yourself unsafely (started out wrong) to go to these mountains; / Six such as you would be too weak to attack him alone, / For, if you see him with sight (of your eyes), you will not have the heart / To cross yourself securely, so huge does he seem
91 He had murdered this mild one by the time that midday (bell) was rung
92 nations he thinks little of
93 For it will be a sorrow without remedy if you offer him anything else
94 spiced wine; Portuguese
95 There that fiend fills himself, to try when you please
96 smoke; went; quickest
97 Those who are roasted on spits in the field and broken with your hands
98 haired; eye-holes
99 Each fold (in the quivering skin of his lips) at once twisted out like the head of a wolf
100 Limbs and loins very loathesome, believe you, truly
101 Right up to; cut; asunder
102 In his death throes the thief squeezes him so fiercely
103 drags; holy body; these
104 He was stronger by far than any I had ever found
105 Quickly strike off his head and put it on a stake thereafter
106 Sir Kay himself brings the club and the coat as well
107 With his battalion spread out by those calm streams
108 Spares; liberty; affrights
109 By foreigners the French tongue is destroyed
110 I shall stop him before much longer if life is granted to me (if I live)
111 These courteous ones wait on a hill by the edge of the wood
112 Palaces (rich tents) proudly pitched, / That had rich walls of silk and purple cloth adorned with precious stones
113 Within a short time I shall not leave him in Paris / So much as a tiny spot; let him test this when he pleases
114 That bears on his shield a heraldic device all of purple, striped with silver
115 With great force, on a brown horse, he offers battle boldly
116 Outjousted at that battle despite his great boasts
117 is filled; pale sea; away
118 astonished; thrusts
119 May I never look on my lord the rest of my life / If we serve him so poorly, we who once pleased him so well
120 die; ground; cut down
121 Even so, he (Sir Gawain) rescued Sir Bois despite all their baleful knights!
122 For, doubtless, if you delay or play any tricks
123 Because of the crowd at the ford they leaped into the water together
124 On the path by the stream they adjust their hauberks
125 They placed the riotous (Roman) knights in the rear guard (as prisoners)
126 God skillfully handles trouble as He pleases. / No one is so harmful that he can escape or slip away from His hands
127 All that concerns temporal life is yours while I live
128 Make ready their battalions, display their banners
129 No attack from ambush is ever defeated
130 See that you pack up your trumpets and trifle no longer
131 Whether we shun (battle) or show (fight), decide as you please
132 I would be boiled alive and cut in quarters
133 Where shrubs were bright under the shining eaves of the forest
134 Of rivets and strong steel and rich gold chain mail
135 Ride on iron-gray steeds at the front rank (of the Romans)
136 Keep what you have taken; it does little harm, / For scorn is internal, use it who will
137 Sir Cador commanded that they be put in wagons and covered with fair cloths
138 When you were placed in a stronghold, you should have endured
139 astonished; destroyed
140 I did my duty today - I put myself at the judgment of lords
141 Commands that his fires be fed so that they flame very high / And (commands them) to pack up securely and march away thereafter
142 Suddenly; each side; troops
143 Sir Kayous, Sir Clegis, and good men of arms / The king decides should keep watch by those shining strands.
144 Six inches above the waist, between the short ribs
145 fulfilled [their] vows
146 Then rushes the steadfast man and grips his bridle
147 Fought with foot-soldiers (brigands) from afar in those lands; / With feathered arrows they very eagerly shoot those men
148 Crossbow bolts skillfully whip through knights
149 whole; hastily; heath;
150 draws; Excalibur
151 All crushed, stamped to death by armored steeds
152 cockatrices (crocodiles)
153 Camels; Arabian horses; elephants
154 Spoil or rot before they could arrive
155 Measured; money; much
156 take care not to deceive
157 While I have power to speak, the Church's possessions shall never be harmed
158 For fear of being dashed asunder by the draw bridge
159 further back
160 Pitched tents of silk and placed (themselves) in siege
161 On Sunday by the time the sun gave out a flood of light
162 (The hay) mown and unstacked, worked over but little, / In rows of cuttings swept down, full of sweet flowers
163 A carbuncle is in the chef (upper third of the shield), changing in colors, / And (he was) an adventurous chief, challenge him who will
164 To that man, steadfast in battle, strongly he stands
165 Near the lower arm plate, veiled with silver
166 We must have a bandage, ere your color changes
167 barbers (surgeons)
168 For he who is wounded with this broad sword shall never cease bleeding!
169 I give you grace and grant you your life, though you have deserved grief
170 confession; prepare
171 If I have the good luck, for my recovery, to serve that noble (Arthur), / I will be quickly cured, I tell thee truly
172 I would rather be stabbed to the heart in private / Than to have an ordinary soldier win such a prize
173 quickly; will be; pieces
174 And some had fallen asleep because of the skillful singing of the creatures
175 Wine casks; broke open
176 those adventuring; To arms!
177 broke; breath
178 If they are not defeated, in faith, it would seem to me a great wonder
179 false of faith; falsehood
180 Meddles; middle guard
181 Devil take you
182 Marquis of Metz; pierces
183 hillside by skill
184 Monasteries and hospitals they hammer to earth
185 Strikes straight; narrow
186 I intend to be lord of that pleasing land!
187 Scout for those hiding so that no harm may befall them
188 Meekly on St. Martin's Day (November 11) to pay homage with his treasures
189 talk; spending; bitterness
190 Sept. 13-14; invade
191 He throws himself quickly on the bed and loosens his belt
192 Beautifully enclosed upon the noble boughs; / There was no moisture that could harm anything
193 expensively; patterned
194 brooches; medallions
195 strange (hostile) to others
196 defeated; hostile
197 Whom you unkindly (as a stranger) left dead in France.
198 Charlemagne; king's
199 An armor neckpiece, a stomach guard, and an excellent belt
200 Pauses at a main road, thinking by himself
201 A man in a full-cut cloak and very roomy clothes
202 With wallet and with pilgrim's mantle and many scallop shells, / Both staff and palm branch,
as if he were a pilgrim
203 I need ask for no credentials; I know you are true
204 Therefore to Great Britain it behooves us to hasten
205 See that in Lombardy no man change his allegiance
206 Sends forth troops and baggage and goes forth thereafter
207 Linked together with great wagon chains
208 Arranged wooden shields on the left (port), painted shields
209 All bareheaded because of business, with beaver-colored locks
210 They are on the rascal's side, I swear by my hand
211 But there was placed in the chef (upper third of shield) a chalk-white maiden
212 They talk in their jargon about what has happened
213 Weather (wind) brings stout ships against planks (of other ships), / So that the bilge and the beam burst apart
214 mast-stays; edgewise; hack
215 Armored knights rush boldly on board, / (Coming) out of small boats on board, (and) were pelted with stones
216 i.e., the captives'
217 By the time the battle was finished the high tide had passed; / Then was the water near the shore such a slush in very large pools / That the king could not land in the low water. / Therefore, he remained on the deep water for fear of losing his horses
218 exhausted with fighting
219 Each man may be warned by vengeance wreaked on another
220 Until he could get away by stealth and come to speak to her
221 not whole (i.e., dead)
222 Nor was there anything that sank him so sad as that sight alone
223 Get knights who hold your castles from their countries
224 Christians; crossed themselves
225 Why did the Lord not destine (me to die) at His dear will
226 Passant (shown from the side, walking) on a purple background of very rich jewels
227 (i.e., the sword Clarent); dainty
228 lifeblood left
229 Let us go to Glastonbury, nothing else avails
230"Into Your hands"
ALLITERATIVE MORTE ARTHURE: NOTESThe following abbreviations are used in these notes to indicate editorial attribution:
Ba: Mary Macleod Banks, ed. An Alliterative Poem of the Fourteenth Century. London, New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1900.
Be: Larry D. Benson, ed. King Arthur's Death. Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1974.
Bj: Erik Bjorkman, ed. Morte Arthure. Alt- und mittelenglische Texte, 9. Heidelberg and New York: Carl Winters, 1915.
Br: Edmund Brock, ed. Morte Arthure or The Death of Arthur. EETS o.s. 8. London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, New Edition, 1871; reprinted 1961.
F: the present editor
GV: E. V. Gordon and Eugene Vinaver. "New Light on the Text of the Alliterative Morte Arthure." Medium Aevum 6 (1937), 81-98.
H: Mary Hamel, ed. Morte Arthure: A Critical Edition. Garland Medieval Texts, 9. New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1984.
K: Valerie Krishna, ed. The Alliterative Morte Arthure. New York: Burt Franklin and Company, Inc., 1976.
OED: Oxford English Dictionary
OL: J. L. N. O'Loughlin. "The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure." Medium Aevum 4 (1935), 153-168.
1 Himselven. On the prominence of reflexive formulas in the poem (himselven, him likes, etc.) as indicators of the will and willfulness, see Peck, pp. 158 ff.
29 Uter. Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father.
32 Scotland and England were often at war in the fourteenth century, hence scathel ("harmful") Scotland.
37 Grace. The MS reading. Most editors emend to Grece (Greece) but Grace (Grasse) makes more geographical sense. Grasse is a small city in southern France, north of Cannes, which was an episcopal see from 1244 to 1790. K retains Grace.
41 Vienne. Ackerman suggests Vienna, though K thinks, rather, that it must refer to a town north of Valence or a district in Poitier.
42 Overgne (Ba, Be, K, H). I.e., Auvergne. MS: Eruge.
47 I.e., the whole extent of Denmark.
61 Caerlion. One of Arthur's principal cities where, according to the chronicles, he often spent Pentecost. K suggests that the reference to the city's "curious walles" may derive from Giraldus' description of the city: "[Caerleon] was of undoubted antiquity, and handsomely built of masonry, with courses of bricks, by the Romans. Many vestiges of its former splendour may yet be seen; immense palaces . . . a tower of prodigious size, remarkable hot baths, relics of temples, and theatres, all enclosed within fine walls, parts of which remain standing. You will find on all sides, both within and without the circuit of the walls, subterraneous buildings, aqueducts, underground passages; and what I think worthy of notice, stoves contrived with wonderful art, to transmit the heat insensibly through narrow tubes passing up the side walls" (p. 164).
64 Carlisle. Here, Arthur's new city, located on the Scottish border; another favorite site for Arthur's festivities, according to Froissant. The Middle English romance Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlisle suggests the city's foundation at a place where courtesy turned monstrosity to civility.
66 douspeeres. Originally Charlemagne's twelve peers, but here simply "high noblemen."
68 A bannerette was a senior knight entitled to bear his own banner; a bacheler ranked somewhat lower and was either a newly made knight or a young man about to be knighted.
77 West Marches. The territories bordering Wales.
79 The bread is the first course (since the other food was heaped upon it), and the first course is the traditional time for the arrival of a messenger. Compare Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, lines 116-132.
86 Lucius Iberius: "The Emperor Lucius was apparently invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth [History of the Kings of Britain], who calls him Lucius Tiberius. . . . The attempt at a reconquest of Britain by the Romans in the sixth century also derives from Geoffrey" (K, p. 165).
92 Lamass Day: a harvest festival formerly celebrated on August 1.
95 Prime was "the first hour of the day, beginning at six-o'clock throughout the year or at the varying times of sunrise" (OED).
105 The Romans held title to Britain on the basis of Caesar's conquest, as recorded in chronicles based ultimately on Book V of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain.
108 route. "Ambigious: either 'snore' (OE hrutan), an expression of Lucius's angry contempt, or more neutrally 'go, travel' (OF router), a contrast rather than a parallel to ryste (rest)" (H, p. 257).
134 There is (Br, Be, K). MS: thare.
142 crowned was (Bj, Be, K). MS: corounde.
168 Chambers with chimneys are heated rooms, a luxury at this time. See note to line 61.
176ff. The elaborate feast that follows might actually have been served at a royal household of the late fourteenth century. Menus for royal feasts are printed in Two Fifteenth-Century Cooking Books, ed. Austin, EETS o.s. 91 (London, 1888; reprinted 1964). See H's extensive notes on the dishes and feast practices of the later fourteenth century (pp. 259-63).
178 togges (OL, Be). MS: togers. H reads toges; Br and K follow MS.
186 whom. MS: whame. Bj, Be, and H emend to when or whan, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS sense.
200 Crete. The poet regularly identifies wines by their place of origin. The universality of Arthur's wine cellar is impressive.
213 The virtues (powers) of precious stones were commonplace in the Middle Ages. See English Medieval Lapidaries, eds. Evans and Serjeantson, EETS o.s. 190 (London, 1932; reprinted 1960).
233 Waynor and Gaynor for Guinevere are used interchangeably as are Gawain and Wawain for Gawain.
234 Sir Owglitreth. Sir Owghtreth of Turry is evidently one of Arthur's vassals. Turry perhaps is Turin, Italy. J. L. N. O'Loughlin, "The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure,"Medium Aevum 4 (1935), 159, suggests that he is one of Lucius' ambassadors, who out of courtesy is assigned with Gawain to accompany the Queen.
245 Giauntes Towr. Since giants occupied Britain before the arrival of Brutus, this tower is, presumably, a "prehistoric" edifice.
256 deffuse. Be and H emend to disuse, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
277 In Book III of Geoffrey's History we are told that, long before Caesar came to Britain, Belinus and Brennius conquered and ravaged Rome. This is, of course, not historical.
"Baldwin the Third is unknown; perhaps he was invented for the sake of alliteration" (K, p. 169).
282 According to Geoffrey (Book V, chapter 6) Constantine was the son of a Roman Senator and a British Princess, and he succeeded to the kingship of Britain. Then he overthrew the Emperor Maxentius and became Emperor. According to legend, his mother, Helen, discovered the True Cross. Arthur claims kinship with Constantine because of his supposed British mother. Constantine actually did proclaim himself Caesar while in York, but he was never king of Britain and not of British descent.
288 King Aungers. Robert W. Ackerman, An Index of Arthurian Names in Middle English (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1952), p. 20, identifies King Aungers as Geoffrey of Monmouth's Auguselus, a king of Scotland, son of Bryadens, grandson of Igerne, and brother of Lot and Urien. He was, like Lot, an enemy of Arthur who later became an ally.
297 The vernacle (the relic of Veronica) is the handkerchief with which St. Veronica wiped the face of Christ on His way to the Crucifixion. Miraculously, the image of His face was preserved on the handkerchief, which still survives. The cult of Veronica was especially strong in the fourteenth century. Pope John XXII granted an indulgence of ten thousand days for a prayer to the Veronica, and its legend had an important part in the popular romances about Titus and Vespasian.
301 eldes. Bj and Be emend to monthes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. It probably means "of two generations".
304 Berne of Britain the Little. King Hoel of Brittany.
305 beseekes. MS; besekys. Bj and Be emend to congee beseekes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in adhering to the MS reading.
320 The Welsh king. Perhaps Sir Valiant (line 2064).
334 Of Wyghte and. GV and Be emend to of wightest; H emends to of wyghte men, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
337 Sir Ewain fitz Urien. Iwain son of Urien and Morgan le Fay.
352 Petersand (Petrasanta, i.e., the Vatican); Pis (Pisa); Pount Tremble (Pontremoli).
368-70 "Lancelot, the great hero of the Vulgate tradition, was unknown in the earlier chronicles. In introducing him as one of the 'lesse men' among Arthur's retainers, the poet gives his audience a clear signal: this poem will not be concerned with the issues and themes of that tradition" (H, p. 268).
369 love. H reads lone and translates the line "I praise God for this contribution" (H, p. 268).
375 Genivers (Genoese): "The notorious giants from Genoa in Lucius' army may derive from the Genoan mercenaries who fought with France against Edward III at Crecy and other important battles" (K, p. 170).
391 renkes. Not rankes (men) but renkes (paths) from OF renc.
415 Epiphany. From the Greek for "appearance" or "manifestation," it is the feast on January 6, commemorating the coming of the Magi to see the child Jesus and symbolizing the "manifestation" of the newborn savior to the whole world (OED).
450 Watling Street. The old Roman road leading from the southern coast by way of London to Cardigan in Wales.
451 nyghes (Ba, K). MS: nyghttes. "The appearance of nyghte in the same line is very likely the source of the scribal error" (K, p. 171).
458 lette. Bj, Be, and H emend to lefe, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
471 sixteen (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: sex sum of six. "Either 'part of a company of six' or 'along with a company of six'. . . . In either case the number given [in the MS] is inconsistent with that of line 81, where the Senator arrives with a company of sixteen" (K, p. 171).
482 Catrik. A town in Yorkshire, identified with the Roman cataractonium.
490 Sandwich is the port from which the Romans will take ship. One of the "cinque ports," Sandwich is the site of the Church of St. Peter where curfew, now ceremonial, was rung.
497 Mount Goddard. One of the principal passes through the French Alps into Italy.
513 sandes. Bj, Be, and H emend to sandesman, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
515 wye (OL, Be, K, H). MS: waye. Br's emendation.
572 Ambyganye and Orcage are apparently in the East. H emends to Arcage, the OF spelling of Arcadia. Ambyganye, she suggests, could be Albania.
575 Irritane (Hyrcania) and Elamet (Elam) are not islands but countries in Asia.
587 Bayous. Be emends to boyes; H emends to barons, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS. This is an odd location in the context, but the suggested emendations are not persuasive. Bayonne (Beune) is in southwestern France.
588 Prester John was thought to be a Christian ruler living somewhere in the Orient. In The Travels of Sir John Mandeville (a famous fourteenth century book of fictitious travels, presented as a true account), Prester John is said to be the Emperor of India, allied by marriage to the great Khan of China. The legend was probably based on reports of Christian communities which actually did exist in the East. Pamphile is a region of Asia Minor.
604-05 Prussland (Prussia) and Lettow (Lithuania) were still pagan in the fourteenth century.
625 The octave of St. Hillary's day would be a week after January 24.
628-29 Constantine (the Peninsula of Cotentin) and Barflete (Barfleur) are on the coast of Normandy.
656 Arthur's concern for the protection of his game is not surprising in a century when (as shown by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) hunting was of great importance to the aristocracy.
674 wordles. MS: werdez. Bj, K, H read wer[l]de?.
716 Sways (Bj, Be). MS: Twys.
734 Hackes. MS: Hukes. K emends to Hekes. H follows MS on grounds that hukes are outergarments or possibly "caparisons for horses" (MED, s.v.); she finds Bj's emendation hackes to be redundant if paired with hackeneys.
769 Be, following GV, supplies a supposed missing line after 769: His tail was totattered with tonges ful huge; K notes but does not accept the insertion. H accepts. I have followed K.
771 Be, following GV, supplies a supposed missing line after 771: And his clawes were enclosed with clene gold; K does not note. H accepts. I have not included the line.
785 at. Be notes MS at, but prints it. I have retained the MS reading as do Br and K. H deletes the word, explaining that the scribe miscopied the following to which he then corrected by writing to but failed to cross out the at.
Rapped, H suggests, means "barked," not dashed to earth, which is inconsistent with the flying posture.
804 thring. MS: brynge. Holthausen's emendation, followed by Bj, Be, and K. H suggests breen, meaning "frighten, terrify." See her note discussing the problem. Br follows MS.
808 seven science. The seven liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, logic, which were the trivium, and arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music, which were the quadrivium); these were the basis of Medieval education.
812 Second half of 812 appears in the MS as the second half of 813 and vice versa (Bj, Be). K and H disagree, but I have followed Be.
821 tattered (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: taschesesede. Br: tachesesede.
841 Templar. A member of the Knights Templar, a military order founded c. 1118 for the protection of the Holy Sepulchre and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The order was suppressed in 1312.
848 countree of Constantine. The country around Cotentin, a peninsula on the coast of Normandy.
880 The promontory is Mont-Saint-Michel, on which, according to this story, Arthur founds the famous monastery to commemorate his victory. See also line 899.
905 jupon. A gipon is a sleeveless cloth garment worn over the armor; Arthur's is jagged in shredes - with fashionable scallopings at the edges. Jerodine is apparently a kind of cloth (perhaps gabardine).
910 enarmed. Bj and Be emend to enamelled, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
946 them. MS: thus. Br, K, and H retain MS.
964 Wade. A figure in German legend and a now-lost English romance.
1028 piment. Wine mixed with honey and spices.
1041 source (Bj, Be). MS: sowre. Br and K retain MS. H emends to sowþe.
1083 eyen-holes (Bj, Be). MS: hole eyghn. Br, K, and H retain MS.
1123 genitals (Bj, Br, Be, K, H). MS: genitates.
1142 buskes. Bj and Be emend to wild buskes, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1175 A reference to the giant Pitho, whom Arthur slew "in Aravio Montem" (in the mount of Araby), the Aran mountains in Wales. The story is from Geoffrey of Monmouth, History of the Kings of Britain, Book X.
1225 Castel Blank is unique in this poem.
1231 mene-while. GV, Be, and H emend to mete-while, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS even though the emendation is plausible.
1248 frayes (Bj, Be, K). MS: fraisez. Br and H retain MS.
1263 Sir Bois. Earl of Oxford. "The name Bos (Boso de Vado Boum in Geoffrey [of Monmouth] was probably invented by Geoffrey as a pun on bos and Oxford" (Ackerman, p. 38).
1264 Sir Berille. Perhaps Borel, Earl of Mans, who fights on Arthur's side and is given Le Mans.
1265 Sir Grime. Bj emends to Geryn of Chartres, one of Arthur's vassals who appears at this point in the chronicles and also in line 3708. Grime is not known elsewhere.
1281 with (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: that with. Br follows MS.
1302 worthy (Bj, Be, K). MS: worthethy. Br and H retain MS.
1334 Appears in MS as line 1330 (Bj, Be, H).
1364 sable (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: salle. Br follows MS.
1378 unabaist all. Bj and Be emend to all unabaist, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS word order and have punctuated to make the grammatical relation clear.
1402-02 The perilous water that falls from the sea fifty miles away apparently refers to a tidal estuary (n.b. salt strandes in line 1422).
1405 I agree with H that changen should be taken as a hunting metaphor: to "change" attention from prey to prey.
1408 all (Bj, Be). MS: and; Bedvere (Be, H). MS: Bedwyne. Br and K retain both MS readings. Perhaps a miswriting of Baldwin, who appears in lines 1606 and 2384.
1427 redies. Be emends to relies, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
1436 stokes. Br and Be emend to strokes, but K notes that emendation is unnecessary, citing OED stoke sb2 (p. 182). H follows MS too.
1466-67 Appear in MS in reverse order (Be). I have followed K, H in retaining MS order.
1503 not (Bj, Be). MS: now. Br, K, and H follow MS.
1558 Sir Ewain fitz Henry. Probably Sir Ewain fitz Urien, as in line 337. Ackerman notes that he is given both names in Layamon's Brut as well (p. 248).
1567 tithandes (Bj, Be, H). MS: thy?andez. Br and K retain MS spelling, as a variant of tydandis.
1622 Sir Evander. King of Syria and one of Lucius's vassals.
1638 Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremus, Sir Cleremond. Sir Clegis is a knight of the Rount Table. Either Sir Cleremus and Sir Cleremond might allude to Clarrus of Clere Mounte who appears in other romances aiding Launcelot in his war against Arthur. Here the pair fill out the alliterative quatrain.
1653 kith (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: lythe. Br retains MS but glosses: "Read Kythe."
1681 Clegis challenges the Romans to a formal tournament, with three courses of war (that is, three jousts with the lance) and the claims of knighthood (the winner to take the horse and arms of the loser.)
1683 Clegis' insult, like the King of Syria's, is part of the formal "flyting."
1688 hufe. Bj and Be emend to leng, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. The charge that Clegis is trying to delay things is only a pro forma insult. More significant is the King of Syria's inquiry about Clegis' ancestry, since it would be beneath his dignity to joust with any but the highest noble.
1690 crest (Bj, Be, H). MS: breste (Br, K).
1695 Sir Brut. The legendary founder of Britain. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth he was the great-grandson of Aeneas of Troy.
1698 Forthy (Be). MS: ffro the.
Brut (Bj, Be, H). MS: Borghte (Br, K).
1732 on. Bj, Be, and H emend to on the, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1744 Wawayne. Bj, Be, and H emend to Bawdwyne, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1745 Rowlaundes (Bj, Be, H). MS: and Rowlandez (Br, K).
1768 all on loud (Bj, Be). MS: o laundone (Br, K, H).
1786 corn-bote. Literally a fine paid in grain.
1797 in his (Bj, Be, K). MS: his ine (Br). H argues that MS reads in his.
1855 I.e., the Saracens are six feet from the waist up.
1866 Cordewa. Be and H emend to Cornett, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
1878 men. Bj, Be, and H emend to hethen men, but I have followed K in retaining MS.
1904 Utolf (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Vtere (Br). Uther, Arthur's father, is dead. Utolfe appears in lines 1622 and 1868, along with Evander, as knights on the Roman side.
1908 Carous (K, H). MS: Barous. Br emends to Barouns.
1911 Sarazenes ynow (Bj, Be, K). MS: sarazenes.
1912 are (Bj, Be, H). MS: a (Br, K).
1930 never berne (Bj, Be). MS: never (Br, K, H).
1938 Though (Be). MS: Thofe (Br, K, H).
1979 them. Bj and Be emend to then, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
1980 halfe. Bj and Be emend to side, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
1982 Wales (Bj, Be, H). MS: Vyleris (Br, K).
2016 sees. Bj and Be emend to him sees, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2047 The knights of the Round Table fulfill the vows they made; the King of Wales fulfills the vow he made in lines 330-32.
2066 Ewain fitz Urien (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Ewayne sir Fytz Vriene (Br). Ewain fitz Urien fulfills the vow he made in lines 357-63.
2073 Lancelot had vowed (lines 372-77) to strike down the emperor himself, and accordingly he now strikes him down and leaves a spear stuck in his belly. The emperor evidently recovers very quickly, for he is soon back in battle.
2081 Lot had vowed to be the first to ride through the Roman ranks (lines 386-94), which he now does. When Lot has accomplished this, the vows are all fulfilled and the battle proper begins.
2108 hethe (Bj, Be, K). MS: heyghe (Br,H).
2112 Jonathal (OL, Be, H, K). MS: Ienitall (Br). Jonathal appears in a corresponding passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth.
2123 Caliburn is used for Excalibur by Geoffrey of Monmouth.
2151 on folde (Bj, Be, K). MS: fygured folde (Br). H emends to faireste-fygured felde.
2157 Sir Cleremond the noble (Bj, K). MS: with clene mene of armes (Br). Be, H have Sir Bedvere the rich, but Cleremond the noble is as familiar a formula and improves the alliteration.
2180 real renk (Bj, Be, H). MS: reall (K). Br reads ryalle. The addition of renk so much improves both rhythm and alliteration that a scribal omission seems likely.
2181 he (K). MS: and (Br, H).
2198 into. Bj, Be, and H emend to into the, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2217 chis. Bj, Be, and H emend to thriches, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2250 at. Bj, Be, and H emend to all, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2280 lighte. Bj and Be emend to lithe, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2283 cokadrisses (Be, K, H). MS: sekadrisses (Br).
2286 dromedaries of (Bj, Be, H). MS: of dromondaries (Br).
2288 Olfendes (Bj, Be, K). MS: elfaydes (Br, H).
2305 he lenged (Br, Be, K, H). MS: lengede. The colours are the heraldic devices on the banners set above the caskets.
2328 ne. Bj, Be, and H emend to we ne, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2343 full monee. Bj and Be emend to full of the monee, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2358 Br, Bj, Be, and H all emend MS fowre to ten. "However, though the messenger is presumably referring in 2358 to the tribute that Arthur's court owed and had not paid for four score winters, Arthur in 2344 is referring to something else - the tribute from Rome to his own kingdom that was lost in his ancestors' days" (K, 187).
2384 Sir Bedwar the rich. Apparently not the same knight as Sir Bedwere the rich who was buried in line 2379. See Bj, p. 158, and K, pp. 187-88, on defects in lines 2371-85.
2386 the Auguste. OL, Be, and H emend to Auguste, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
2390 Cristofer day. St. Christopher's day, July 25. St. Christopher has since been de-canonized.
2398 Lorraine the lele. Bj and Be emend to of Lorraine the lege, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2403 to (K). MS: and.
2408 Tuskan (Ba, Be, K, H). MS: Turkayne (Br).
2418 is in (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: es (Br).
2419 Citee (Br, Be, K, H). MS: Pety.
2424 Br, Be, and H note MS beneyde: bended (Bj). K emends to bendyde.
2438 ferde. Bj and Be emend to rade, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.
2478 plattes. Bj and Be emend to plantes, but I have followed K in retaining MS.
2495 Wecharde. Be emends to Wicher, but I have followed K in retaining MS.
2519 withouten any berne (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: with birenne ony borne.
2521 gessenande. Be and H emend to glessenand, but I have followed K. Instead of glistening in gold the sable (black) grayhounds are lying couchant.
2522 and (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: a (Br).
2531 the lange (Bj, Be, H). MS: a launde (Br, K).
2568 vailed (K). MS: vrayllede (Br). Bj and Be emend to railed.
2586 Salerne. Salerno. The University of Salerno was famous in the Middle Ages for its medical school.
2588 Be follows GV suggestion to insert two lines to follow 2588: That I might be cristened, with crisom annointed, / Become meek for my misdeeds for meed of my soul.
2594 legeaunce and land (OL, Be). MS: legyaunce (Br, K). H emends to undir what legyaunce.
2648 It would be dishonorable for Priamus to be defeated by an ordinary soldier. Gawain is such a great knight that even to be defeated by him is an honor that Priamus would prize even if no one were to learn of it.
2663 Be, following GV, inserts the following after 2663: For here hoves at thy hand an hundreth good knightes. H agrees, but I have followed Br and K in omitting the line.
2664 For they are. Be emends to they are, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2675 slight (Bj, Be, K). MS: slaughte. H emends to a slaughte.
2680 Wecharde (K). MS: Wychere.
2705 The four wells of Paradise (which were thought to be in the East) were celebrated for their magical qualities (one was the Fountain of Youth) and thought to be the sources of the four great rivers of the East - the Nile, the Ganges, the Tigris, and the Euphrates.
2771 breth (Bj, Be, H). MS: breste (Br, K).
2797 and (Bj, Be, H). MS: a (Br, K).
2854 Though (Bj, Be). MS: Thofe (Br, K, H).
2868 Unwine. A legendary hero of the Goths, probably known to the poet from a lost English romance.
Absolon. Absalom (2 Samuel 13-19), celebrated in medieval romance for his personal beauty.
2876 The adventure in the vale of Josephat, to which the gestes refer, is an episode in the Fuerre de Gaderes, a story of the Crusades.
2890 Gerard (Bj, Be, H). MS: Ierante (Br, K).
2891 He stabs him through a gyronny shield (a shield decorated with two colors divided into triangles).
2908 Giauntes. Bj and Be emend to giauntes are, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
2940 duke dresses (Bj, Be, H). MS: duke (Br, K).
2950 Marches. MS: maches (Br). Be emends to matchless, but I have followed K and H.
2951 middle-erthe. "The earth, as placed between heaven and hell, or as supposed to occupy the centre of the universe" (OED).
2977 sleghte (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: elagere (Br).
3013 at heste (Bj, Be, H). MS: the beste (Br, K).
3031 in Hampton. According to H, the phrase "indicates that the messenger's reward is not simply a lump sum but an estate worth £100 a year - a princely gift for a mere herald" (p. 351).
3057 none (GV, Be, H). MS: no (Br, K).
3061 be deemed (Bj, Be, K). MS: idene the (Br). H emends to indeue the, meaning "endow you" or "provide you with a livelihood."
3064 he. Bj and Be emend to sho, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.
3067 MS lines 3068-3083 are moved by Be to become lines 3112-3127. Although H agrees with Be, I have followed K in leaving them in their MS position.
3074 knighte. GV, H, and Be emend to king, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
3101 He crosses over Lake Lucerne into Switzerland.
3117 Slely. MS: slal (Br). Bj and Be emend to skathel, but I have followed K.
3140 for Pawnce and for (Bj, Be, H, K). MS: of Pawnce and of. Br: Plesaunce (Piacenza), Pawnce (Ponte), and Pownte Tremble (Pontremole) are towns in Lombardy.
3150 thus wele timed. GV and Be emend to him time semed, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3186 sceptre and swerde. MS: his ceptre (Br). Be emends to sceptre, for sooth, but I have followed K. H emends to ceptre forsothe.
3209 honden. Bj and Be emend to holde, but I have followed K in retaining MS. H emends to honouren.
3212 Cross-days: Rogation Days, three special days of prayer preceding Ascension Day (forty days after Easter).
3220 slakes his (Bj, Be). MS: slakes (Br, H, K).
3241 clerewort. Bj and Be emend to clevewort, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3251 Dame Fortune, with her Wheel of Fortune, is a familiar figure in late Medieval poetry, as are the Nine Worthies whom Arthur sees in his dream. The Nine Worthies first appear in fourteenth century works such as The Parlement of Three Ages and reappear as late as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
3256 With brouches (Bj, Be, H). MS: bruches (Br, K).
besauntes are coins, originally from Byzantium, here coin-shaped golden discs.
3257 Her back (Bj, Be, H). MS: With hir bake (Br, K).
3263 riches (Bj, Be, K). MS: reched (Br), but K thinks MS may read reches anyway.
3272 this (Bj, Be). MS: thir (Br, K). H reads thi.
roo (Bj, Be, K). MS: rog (Br, H).
3282 tone eye (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: two eyne (Br).
3308 folded (Bj, Be, K). MS: fayled (Br). H emends to falded in.
3345 Frollo was the ruler of France whom Arthur killed in single combat when he conquered that country as part of the conquests that immediately precede the action of this poem and that are summarized in the opening lines. The story is told in Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain, Book IX, chapter 11, where Arthur's adversary is called Flollo, and in Wace's Brut (which our poet may have known), where he is called Frolle or Frollo.
3352 crispand (Bj, Be, H). MS: krispane (Br, K).
3356 Circled (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: Selkylde (Br).
3408-10 Alexander the Great, Hector of Troy, and Julius Caesar are the three Pagan Worthies.
3412-16 Judas Maccabeus, Joshua, and King David are the three Jewish Worthies.
3422 tone climand kyng (Bj, Be, H). MS: two clymbande kynges.
3423 Karolus (Charlemagne) is the first of the three Christian Worthies. The second is Godfrey of Bouillon (line 3430), and the third is Arthur himself.
3427 lifelich. Bj and Be emend to loveliche, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3434 He shall recover the cross when he conquers Jerusalem. Godfrey's deeds, like Charlemagne's (lines 3423-29), are prophesied, since Arthur historically precedes both.
3439 ninde (Bj, Be). Ms: nynne (Br, K, H).
3470 Be interprets rowme ("roomy, or full-cut") to be fashionable, as he does the shreddes and shragges ("scalloped edges") in line 3473, but I am inclined to agree with H that the stranger is dressed quite unfashionably.
3474 slawin. Bj and Be emend to sclavin ("pilgrim's garb"), but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
The scallop shells were the mark of a pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela in Spain, the palm branch of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
3480 wathe (Bj, Be, H). MS: wawthe (Br, K).
3505 Be reverses 3505 and 3506, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3510 I. Bj and Be emend to I was, but I have followed K and H in retaining MS.
3530 Of (Bj, Be). MS: To (Br, K, H).
3541 From the Humber River (at the southern border of Yorkshire) to the town of Hawick (in southern Scotland), i.e., the whole North Country.
3545 Hengest and Horsa were traditionally the first Germanic (that is, Anglo-Saxon) invaders of Britain; Geoffrey of Monmouth (History, Book VI, chapter 11) gives the traditional account.
3592 trome. Bj, Be, and H emend to trumpe, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
3605 Lines 3605 and 3606 appear in reverse order in the MS (Be).
3611 Apparently the painted cloths (sewn together and doubled) are meant to serve as a protection against arrows.
3648-49 The maiden on the chef, the upper third of the shield, is the Blessed Virgin, who is holding the Christ-child, the Chef or Lord of heaven. In 3650 the sense seems to be "noble."
3650 Arthur will not change his arms to disguise himself even when hard-pressed, as Mordred later does (lines 4181-85).
3662 Wether (Be). MS: With hir (Br, K, H).
Ramming and boarding were the principal tactics in fourteenth century sea battles, since cannon had only recently been introduced.
3672 bernes (Bj, Be). MS: braynes (Br, K). H reads berynes.
3675 Up ties (Be, K, H). MS: Vpcynes (Br).
3678 Many freke (Bj, Be). MS: ffreke (Br, K, H).
3684 englaimes (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: englaymous (Br).
3709 Galuth is Gawain's sword, here personified as "a good gome."
3720 in (Be, K). MS: and (Br, H).
3743 Engendure may be a reference to Mordred's incestuous begetting (see Stanzaic Morte Arthure, lines 2955-56), though there is no direct reference to it in this poem.
3773 The Montagues were a famous Northern English family. The head of the family was a supporter of Richard II and a suspected heretic. He rebelled against Henry IV in 1400; he was beheaded and his head was displayed on London Bridge as a warning to other potential traitors.
3796 help. Be emends to help me, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3797 to see us (Br, Be, K, H). MS: to us.
3864 Fres. Bj and Be emend to Frisland, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3869 The golden griffin (a winged dragon) is Gawain's usual heraldic device.
3891 sib-blood. Mordred and Gawain are half brothers; their mother is Arthur's sister.
3911 yeyes (Bj, Be, H, K). MS: ?ee (Br).
3924 Swalters. Bj and Be emend to swafres, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
3929 trewth (Bj, Be, H). MS: trewghe (Br, K).
3937 It is unclear whether the MS reads Guthede or Guchede. The former makes more sense.
3942 encircled (Bj, Be, K, H). MS: enserchede (Br).
3996 kithe (Bj, Be, H). MS: kyghte (Br, K).
4010 Carried it (Br, Be, H). MS: Karyed (Br, K).
4017 Don for him (Bj, Be). MS: Done for (Br, K, H).
4020 erthe. Bj, Be, and H emend to bere, but I have followed Br and K in retaining MS.
4095 The banners must be defended not only for the sake of honor but because signals made with the banners are the only means of communication during a battle.
4129 sere. Bj and Be emend to fele, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
4157 Why then ne (Be). MS: Qwythen. K explains that an emendation may not really be necessary since the OED glosses the MS word in the same words as the emendation.
4181 churles. OL and Be emend to churlish, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS. Mordred adopts the cowardly stratagem of changing his heraldic devices, which Arthur would never do (see note on line 3650).
4221 and in (Br, Be, K, H). MS: and.
4223 he ne (Br, Be, K, H). MS: ne he.
4303 Arthur is said to have been buried at Glastonbury.
4305 day. Be emends to dayes, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
4326 In manus is a common Medieval short form of Pater, in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," Christ's last words on the cross according to Luke 23:46.
4332 Requiem. Mass for the dead.
4343 blude. Bj and Be emend to kin, but I have followed Br, K, and H in retaining MS.
4346 Brut. The History of Britain, which begins with Brutus, who settled the country. Brut refers to any history of Britain, though the poet may have meant some specific work, such as the popular English prose Brut.
4347 This and the following lines are not by the original author of our poem. This line, which is the inscription on Arthur's tomb (dating from 1278), was added by a later reader of the manuscript. The next lines concern the scribe rather than the author of the poem. Robert Thornton, who lived in Yorkshire, about 1440, wrote out the manuscript that contains this and a number of other romances. The final Latin line, asking that Robert be blessed for his work, was written by a grateful reader in the later fifteenth century.
When these wordes was said, the Welsh king himselven
Was ware of this widerwin that warrayed his knightes;
Brothely in the vale with voice he ascries:
"Viscount of Valence, envious of deedes,
The vassalage of Viterbo today shall be revenged!
Unvanquisht fro this place void shall I never."
Then the viscount, valiant, with a voice noble
Avoided the avauntward, enveround his horse;
He dressed in a derf sheld, endented with sable,
With a dragon engoushed, dredful to shew,
Devourand a dolphin with doleful lates,
In sign that our soveraign sholde be destroyed,
And all done of dayes, with dintes of swordes,
For there is nought but dede there the dragon is raised!
Then the comlich king castes in fewter,
With a cruel launce coupes full even
Aboven the spayre a span, among the short ribbes, 144
That the splent and the spleen on the spere lenges!
The blood sprent out and spredde as the horse springes,
And he sproules full spakely, but spekes he no more!
And thus has Sir Valiant holden his avowes,
And vanquisht the Viscount that victor was holden!
Then Sir Ewain fitz Urien full enkerly rides
Anon to the Emperour his egle to touch;
Through his brode batail he buskes belive,
Braides out his brand with a blithe cheer,
Reversed it redily and away rides,
Ferkes in with the fowl in his fair handes,
And fittes in freely on front with his feres.
Now buskes Sir Launcelot and braides full even
To Sir Lucius the lord and lothly him hittes;
Through paunce and plates he perced the mailes
That the proud pensel in his paunch lenges!
The hed hailed out behind an half foot large,
Through hawberk and haunch with the hard wepen;
The steed and the steren man strikes to the ground,
Strak down a standard and to his stale wendes!
"Me likes well," says Sir Lot, "yon lordes are delivered! 145
The lot lenges now on me, with leve of my lord;
Today shall my name be laid, and my life after,
But some lepe fro the life that on yon land hoves!"
Then strekes the steren and straines his bridle, 146
Strikes into the stour on a steed rich,
Enjoined with a giaunt and jagged him through!
Jollily this gentle knight for-jousted another,
Wrought wayes full wide, warrayand knightes,
And woundes all wathely that in the way standes!
Fightes with all the frap a furlong of way,
Felled fele upon feld with his fair wepen,
Vanquisht and has the victory of valiant knightes,
And all enverouned the vale and void when him liked.
Then bowmen of Bretain brothely there-after
Bekered with brigandes of fer in tho landes; 147
With flones fletterd they flit full freshly thir frekes,
Fichen with fetheres through the fine mailes;
Such flytting is foul that so the flesh deres,
That flow a ferrom in flankes of steedes.
Dartes the Dutch-men delten againes,
With derf dintes of dede dagges through sheldes;
Quarrels quaintly quappes through knightes 148
With iron so wekerly that wink they never.
So they shrinken for shot of the sharp arrows,
That all the sheltron shunt and shuddered at ones;
The rich steedes rependes and rashes on armes,
The hole hundreth on hie upon hethe ligges; 149
But yet the hatheliest on hie, hethen and other,
All hourshes over hede, harmes to work.
And all these giauntes before, engendered with fendes,
Joines on Sir Jonathal and gentle knightes,
With clubbes of clene steel clanked in helmes,
Crashed down crestes and crashed braines,
Killed coursers and coverd steedes,
Chopped through chevalers on chalk-white steedes;
Was never steel ne steed might stand them againes,
But stonays and strikes down that in the stale hoves,
Til the conquerour come with his keen knightes.
With cruel countenaunce he cried full loud:
"I wend no Bretons wolde be bashed for so little,
And for bare-legged boyes that on the bente hoves!"
He clekes out Caliburn, full clenlich burnisht, 150
Graithes him to Golopas, that greved him most,
Cuttes him even by the knees clenly in sonder;
"Come down," quod the king, "and carp to thy feres!
Thou art too high by the half, I hete thee in trewth!
Thou shall be handsomer in hie, with the help of my Lord!"
With that steelen brand he stroke off his hed.
Sterenly in that stour he strikes another.
Thus he settes on seven with his seker knightes;
Whiles sixty were served so ne sesed they never;
And thus at this joining the giauntes are destroyed,
And at that journee for-jousted with gentle knightes.
Then the Romanes and the renkes of the Round Table
Rewles them in array, rereward and other,
With wight wepenes of war they wroughten on helmes,
Rittes with rank steel full real mailes
But they fit them fair, these frek bernes,
Fewters in freely on feraunt steedes
Foines full felly with flishand speres,
Fretten off orfrayes fast upon sheldes;
So fele fey is in fight upon the feld leved
That ech a furth in the firth of red blood runnes.
By that swiftely on swarth the swet is beleved,
Swordes swangen in two, sweltand knightes
Lies wide open welterand on walopand steedes;
Woundes of wale men workand sides,
Faces fetteled unfair in feltered lockes,
All craysed, for-trodden with trapped steedes, 151
The fairest on folde that figured was ever,
As fer as a furlong, a thousand at ones!
By then the Romanes were rebuked at little,
Withdrawes them drerily and dreches no lenger;
Our prince with his power persewes them after,
Prikes on the proudest with his pris knightes,
Sir Kayous, Sir Clegis, Sir Cleremond the noble,
Encounters them at the cliff with clene men of armes;
Fightes fast in the firth, frithes no wepen,
Felled at the first come five hundreth at ones!
And when they fande them for-set with our fers knightes,
Few men again fele mot fich them better,
Fightes with all the frap, foines with speres,
And fought with the frekkest that to Fraunce longes.
But Sir Kayous the keen castes in fewter,
Chases on a courser and to a king rides;
With a launce of Lettow he thirles his sides
That the liver and the lunges on the launce lenges;
The shaft shuddered and shot in the shire berne,
And sought throughout the sheld and in the shalk restes.
But Kayous at the in-come was keeped unfair
With a coward knight of the kith rich;
At the turning that time the traitour him hit
In through the felettes and in the flank after
That the bustous launce the bewelles entamed,
That braste at the brawling and broke in the middes.
Sir Kayous knew well by that kidd wound
That he was dede of the dint and done out of life;
Then he raikes in array and on row rides,
On this real renk his dede to revenge:
"Keep thee, coward!" he calles him soon,
Cleves him with his clere brand clenlich in sonder:
"Had thou well delt thy dint with thy handes,
I had forgiven thee my dede, by Crist now of heven!"
He wendes to the wise king and winly him greetes:
"I am wathely wounded, waresh mon I never;
Work now thy worship, as the world askes,
And bring me to burial; bid I no more.
Greet well my lady the queen, yif thee world happen,
And all the burlich birdes that to her bowr longes;
And my worthily wife, that wrathed me never,
Bid her for her worship work for my soul!"
The kinges confessour come with Crist in his handes,
For to comfort the knight, kend him the wordes;
The knight covered on his knees with a kaunt herte,
And caught his Creatour that comfortes us all.
Then romes the rich king for rewth at his herte,
Rides into rout his dede to revenge,
Pressed into the plump and with a prince meetes
That was eier of Egypt in those este marches,
Cleves him with Caliburn clenlich in sonder!
He broches even through the berne and the saddle bristes,
And at the back of the blonk the bewelles entamed!
Manly in his malencoly he meetes another;
The middle of that mighty that him much greved
He merkes through the mailes the middes in sonder,
That the middes of the man on the mount falles,
The tother half of the haunch on the horse leved;
Of that hurt, as I hope, heles he never!
He shot through the sheltrons with his sharp wepen,
Shalkes he shrede through and shrinked mailes;
Banners he bore down, brittened sheldes;
Brothely with brown steel his brethe he there wrekes;
Wrothely he writhes by wightness of strenghe,
Woundes these widerwinnes, warrayed knightes
Threped through the thickes thriteen sithes,
Thringes throly in the throng and chis even after!
Then Sir Gawain the good with worshipful knightes
Wendes in the avauntward by tho wood hemmes,
Was ware of Sir Lucius on land there he hoves
With lordes and lege-men that to himself longed.
Then the Emperour enkerly askes him soon:
"What will thou, Wawain? Work for thy wepen?
I wot by thy wavering thou wilnes after sorrow;
I shall be wroken on thee, wretch for all thy grete wordes!"
He laght out a long sword and lushed on fast,
And Sir Lionel in the land lordly him strikes,
Hittes him on the hed that the helm bristes,
Hurtes his herne-pan an hand-bred large!
Thus he layes on the lump and lordly them served,
Wounded worthily worshipful knightes,
Fightes with Florent, that best is of swordes,
Til the fomand blood til his fist runnes!
Then the Romans releved that ere were rebuked,
And all torattes our men with their reste horses;
For they see their cheftain be chauffed so sore,
They chase and chop down our chevalrous knightes!
Sir Bedvere was borne through and his breste thirled
With a burlich brand, brode at the hiltes;
The real rank steel to his herte runnes,
And he rushes to the erthe; rewth is the more!
Then the conquerour took keep and come with his strenghes
To rescue the rich men of the Round Table,
To outraye the Emperour, yif aunter it shew,
Even to the egle, and "Arthur!" ascries.
The Emperour then egerly at Arthur he strikes,
Awkward on the umbrere, and egerly him hittes;
The naked sword at the nose noyes him sore;
The blood of the bold king over the breste runnes,
Bebledde at the brode sheld and the bright mailes!
Our bold king bowes the blonk by the bright bridle,
With his burlich brand a buffet him reches
Through the breny and breste with his bright wepen;
O slant down fro the slot he slittes him at ones!
Thus endes the Emperour of Arthure handes,
And all his austeren host there-of were affrayed.
Now they ferk to the firth, a few that are leved,
For ferdness of our folk, by the fresh strandes;
The flowr of our fers men on feraunt steedes
Followes frekly on the frekes that frayed was never.
Then the kidd conquerour cries full loud:
"Cosin of Cornwall, take keep to thyselven
That no capitain be keeped for none silver,
Ere Sir Kayous dede be cruelly venged!"
"Nay," says Sir Cador, "so me Crist help!
There ne is kaiser ne king that under Crist regnes
That I ne shall kill cold-dede by craft of my handes!"
There might men see cheftains on chalk-white steedes
Chop down in the chase chevalry noble,
Romanes the richest and real kinges,
Braste with rank steel their ribbes in sonder,
Braines forbrusten through burnisht helmes,
With brandes forbrittened on brode in the landes;
They hewed down hethen men with hilted swordes,
By hole hundrethes on hie by the holt eves;
There might no silver them save ne succour their lives,
Sowdan, ne Sarazen, ne senatour of Rome.
Then releves the renkes of the Round Table,
By the rich river that runnes so fair;
Lodges them lovely by tho lighte strandes,
All on lowe in the land, those lordlich bernes.
They kaire to the carriage and took what them likes,
Camels and cokadrisses and coffers full rich, 152
Hackes and hackenays and horses of armes,
Housing and herberage of hethen kinges;
They drew out dromedaries of diverse lordes,
Moilles milk-white and marvelous bestes,
Olfendes and arrabys and olyfauntes noble 153
That are of the Orient with honourable kinges.
But Sir Arthur anon ayeres thereafter
Even to the emperour with honourable kinges,
Laght him up full lovelyly with lordlich knightes,
And led him to the layer there the king ligges.
Then harawdes hiely at hest of the lordes,
Huntes up the haythemen that on height ligges,
The Sowdan of Surry and certain kinges,
Sixty of the chef senatours of Rome.
Then they buskes and bawmed thir burlich kinges,
Sewed them in sendell sixty-fold after,
Lapped them in lede, less that they sholde
Change or chauffe yif they might escheve 154
Closed in kestes clene unto Rome,
With their banners aboven, their badges there-under,
In what countree they kaire, that knightes might know
Ech king by his colours, in kith where he lenged.
Anon on the second day, soon by the morn,
Two senatours there come and certain knightes,
Hoodless fro the hethe, ovre the holt-eves,
Bare-foot over the bente with brandes so rich,
Bowes to the bold king and biddes him the hiltes.
Whether he will hang them or hedde or hold them on life,
Kneeled before the conquerour in kirtels alone,
With careful countenaunce they carped these wordes:
"Two senatours we are, thy subjettes of Rome,
That has saved our life by these salt strandes,
Hid us in the high wood through the helping of Crist,
Beseekes thee of succour, as soveraign and lord;
Graunt us life and limm with liberal herte,
For His love that thee lente this lordship in erthe!"
"I graunt," quod the good king, "through grace of myselven;
I give you life and limm and leve for to pass,
So ye do my message menskfully at Rome,
That ilke charge that I you give here before my chef knightes."
"Yes," says the senatours, "that shall we ensure,
Sekerly by our trewthes, thy sayinges to fulfill;
We shall let for no lede that lives in erthe,
For pope ne for potestate ne prince so noble,
That ne shall lely in land thy letteres pronounce,
For duke ne for douspeer, to die in the pain!"
Then the bannerettes of Bretain brought them to tents
There barbours were boun with basins on loft;
With warm water, iwis, they wet them full soon;
They shoven these shalkes shapely thereafter
To reckon these Romanes recreant and yelden
Forthy shove they them to shew for skomfit of Rome.
They coupled the kestes on camelles belive,
On asses and arrabyes, these honourable kinges;
The Emperour for honour all by him one,
Even upon an olyfaunt, his egle out over;
Bekend them the captives, the king did himselven,
And all before his keen men carped these wordes:
"Here are the kestes," quod the king, "kaire over the mountes,
Mette full monee that ye have mikel yerned, 155
The tax and the tribute of ten score winteres
That was teenfully tint in time of our elders;
Say to the senatour the citee that yemes
That I send him the sum; assay how him likes!
But bid them never be so bold, whiles my blood regnes
Eft for to brawl them for my brode landes,
Ne to ask tribute ne tax by nokin title,
But such tresure as this, whiles my time lastes."
Now they raik to Rome the rediest wayes
Knelles in the Capitol and commouns assembles,
Soveraignes and senatours the citee that yemes,
Bekend them the carriage, kestes and other,
Als the conquerour commaunde with cruel wordes:
"We have trustily travailed this tribute to fetch,
The tax and the trewage of foure score winteres,
Of England, of Ireland and all thir out-iles,
That Arthur in the Occident occupies at ones.
He biddes you never be so bold whiles his blood regnes
To brawl you for Bretain ne his brode landes,
Ne ask him tribute ne tax by nokins title
But such tresure as this, whiles his time lastes.
We have foughten in Fraunce and us is foul happened,
And all our much fair folk fey are beleved;
Eschaped there ne chevalry ne cheftaines nother,
But chopped down in the chase, such chaunce is befallen!
We rede ye store you of stone and stuffen your walles;
You wakens wandreth and war; be ware if you likes!"
In the kalendes of May this case is befallen;
The roy real renowned with his Round Table
On the coste of Constantine by the clere strandes
Has the Romanes rich rebuked for ever!
When he had foughten in Fraunce and the feld wonnen
And fersely his fomen felld out of life,
He bides for the burying of his bold knightes,
That in batail with brandes were brought out of life.
He buries at Bayonne Sir Bedwere the rich;
The corse of Kayous the keen at Came is beleved,
Covered with a crystal clenly all over;
His fader conquered that kith knightly with handes.
Senn in Burgoine he badde to bury mo knightes,
Sir Berade and Bawdwyne, Sir Bedwar the rich,
Good Sir Cador at Came, as his kind askes.
Then Sir Arthur anon in the Auguste thereafter,
Enteres to Almaine with hostes arrayed,
Lenges at Lusheburgh to lechen his knightes,
With his lele lege-men as lord in his owen;
And on Cristofer day a counsel he holdes
With kinges and kaisers, clerkes and other,
Commaundes them keenly to cast all their wittes
How he may conquer by craft the kith that he claimes;
But the conquerour keen, courtais and noble,
Carpes in the counsel these knightly wordes:
"Here is a knight in these cleves, enclosed with hilles,
That I have covet to know because of his wordes,
That is Lorraine the lele, I keep not to laine. 156
The lordship is lovely, as ledes me telles;
I will that duchy devise and dele as me likes,
And senn dress with the duke, if destainy suffer;
The renk rebel has been unto my Round Table,
Redy ay with Romanes to riot my landes.
We shall reckon full rathe, if resoun so happen,
Who has right to that rent, by rich God of heven!
Then will I by Lumbardy, likand to shew,
Set law in the land that last shall ever,
The tyrauntes of Tuskan tempest a little,
Talk with the temporal, whiles my time lastes;
I give my protection to all the pope landes,
My rich pensel of pees my pople to shew.
It is a folly to offend our fader under God
Other Peter or Paul, tho postles of Rome;
If we spare the spiritual we speed but the better;
Whiles we have for to speke, spill shall it never!" 157
Now they speed at the spurres withouten speche more,
To the march of Meyes, these manlich knightes,
That is in Lorraine alosed as London is here,
Citee of that seinour that soveraign is holden.
The king ferkes forth on a fair steed
With Ferrer and Ferawnte and other four knightes;
About the citee tho seven they sought at the next,
To seek them a seker place to set with engines.
Then they bended in burgh bowes of vise,
Bekers at the bold king with bustous lates,
Allblawsters at Arthur egerly shootes
For to hurt him or his horse with that hard wepen.
The king shunt for no shot ne no sheld askes,
But shews him sharply in his sheen weedes,
Lenges all at leisere and lookes on the walles
Where they were lowest the ledes to assail.
"Sir," said Sir Ferrer, "a folly thou workes,
Thus naked in thy noblay to nighe to the walles,
Singly in thy surcote this citee to reche
And shew thee within there to shend us all;
Hie us hastily henne or we mon foul happen,
For hit they thee or thy horse, it harmes for ever!"
"If thou be ferde," quod the king, "I rede thee ride utter, 158
Less that they rew thee with their round wepen.
Thou art but a fauntekein, no ferly me thinkes!
Thou will be flayed for a fly that on thy flesh lightes!
I am nothing aghast, so me God help!
Though such gadlinges be greved, it greves me but little;
They win no worship of me, but wastes their tackle;
They shall want ere I wend, I wagen mine heved!
Shall never harlot have happe, through help of my Lord,
To kill a crownd king with crisom annointed!"
Then come the herbariours, harageous knightes,
The hole batailes on hie harraunt thereafter,
And our forreours fers upon fele halfes
Come flyand before on feraunt steedes,
Ferkand in array, thir real knightes,
The renkes renowned of the Round Table!
All the frek men of Fraunce followed thereafter,
Fair fitted on front and on the feld hoves.
Then the shalkes sharply shiftes their horses,
To shewen them seemly in their sheen weedes;
Buskes in batail with banners displayed,
With brode sheldes enbraced and burlich helmes,
With penouns and pensells of ilke prince armes,
Apparelled with perry and precious stones;
The launces with loraines and lemand sheldes,
Lightenand as the levening and lemand all ove
Then the pris men prikes and proves their horses,
Satilles to the citee upon sere halves;
Enserches the suburbes sadly thereafter,
Discoveres of shot-men and skirmish a little,
Scares their skotifers and their scout-watches
Brittenes their barrers with their bright wepens,
Bette down a barbican and the bridge winnes;
Ne had the garnison been good at the grete gates,
They had won that wonne by their owen strenghe!
Then with-drawes our men and dresses them better,
For drede of the draw-bridge dashed in-sonder; 159
Hies to the herberage there the king hoves
With his batail on high, horsed on steedes.
Then was the prince purveyed and their places nomen,
Pight paviliouns of pall and plattes in sege. 160
Then lenge they lordly as them lef thought,
Watches in ilke ward, as to the war falles,
Settes up sodenly certain engines.
On Sononday by the sun has a flethe yolden, 161
The king calles on Florent, that flowr was of knightes:
"The Fraunchmen enfeebleshes; ne ferly me thinkes!
They are unfonded folk in tho fair marches,
For them wantes the flesh and food that them likes.
Here are forestes fair upon fele halves,
And thider fomen are fled with freelich bestes.
Thou shall founde to the felle and forray the mountes:
Sir Ferawnte and Sir Floridas shall follow thy bridle.
Us moste with some fresh mete refresh our pople
That are fed in the firth with the fruit of the erthe.
There shall wend to this viage Sir Gawain himselven,
Warden full worshipful, and so him well seemes;
Sir Wecharde, Sir Walter, these worshipful knightes,
With all the wisest men of the west marches,
Sir Clegis, Sir Claribald, Sir Cleremond the noble,
The Capitain of Cardiff, clenlich arrayed.
Go now, warn all the watch, Gawain and other,
And wendes forth on your way withouten mo wordes."
Now ferkes to the firth these fresh men of armes,
To the felle so fawe, these freshlich bernes,
Through hoppes and hemland, hilles and other,
Holtes and hore woodes with heslin shawes,
Through morass and moss and mountes so high,
And in the misty morning on a mede falles,
Mowen and unmade, mainovred but little, 162
In swathes sweppen down, full of sweet flowres;
There unbridels these bold and baites their horses.
To the gryging of the day that birdes gan sing
Whiles the sours of the sun, that sande is of Crist,
That solaces all sinful that sight has in erthe.
Then wendes out the warden, Sir Gawain himselven,
Als he that wise was and wight, wonders to seek;
Then was he ware of a wye, wonder well armed,
Baitand on a water bank by the wood eves,
Busked in breny bright to behold,
Enbraced a brode sheld on a blonk rich,
Withouten any berne, but a boy one
Hoves by him on a blonk and his spere holdes.
He bore gessenande in gold three grayhoundes of sable,
With chappes and chaines of chalk-white silver,
A charbocle in the chef, changand of hewes, 163
And a chef aunterous, challenge who likes.
Sir Gawain gliftes on the gome with a glad will;
A grete spere from his groom he grippes in handes,
Girdes even over the streme on a steed rich
To that steren in stour on strenghe there he hoves, 164
Egerly on English "Arthur!" he ascries.
The tother irously answers him soon
On the lange of Lorraine with a loud steven
That ledes might listen the lenghe of a mile:
"Whider prikes thou, pilour, that proffers so large?
Here pickes thou no prey, proffer when thee likes,
But thou in this peril put of the better,
Thou shall be my prisoner for all thy proud lates!"
"Sir," says Sir Gawain, "so me God help,
Such glaverand gomes greves me but little!
But if thou graithe thy gere thee will gref happen
Ere thou go of this greve, for all thy grete wordes!"
Then their launces they latchen, these lordlich bernes,
Laggen with long speres on liard steedes,
Coupen at aunter by craftes of armes
Til both the cruel speres brusten at ones;
Through sheldes they shot and sheered through mailes,
Both sheer through sholders a shaft-monde large.
Thus worthily these wyes wounded are bothen;
Ere they wreke them of wrath away will they never.
Then they raght in the rein and again rides,
Redily these rathe men rushes out swordes,
Hittes on helmes full hertilich dintes,
Hewes on hawberkes with full hard wepens!
Full stoutly they strike, thir steren knightes,
Stokes at the stomach with steelen pointes,
Fighten and flourish with flamand swordes,
Til the flawes of fire flames on their helmes.
Then Sir Gawain was greved and grouched full sore;
With Galuth his good sword grimly he strikes,
Clef the knightes sheld clenlich in sonder.
Who lookes to the left side, when his horse launches,
With the light of the sun men might see his liver.
Then grones the gome for gref of his woundes,
And girdes at Sir Gawain as he by glentes,
And awkward egerly sore he him smites;
An alet enameld he oches in sonder,
Bristes the rerebrace with the brand rich,
Carves off at the coutere with the clene edge
Anentis the avawmbrace vailed with silver; 165
Through a double vesture of velvet rich
With the venomous sword a vein has he touched
That voides so violently that all his wit changed;
The vesar, the aventail, his vestures rich
With a valiant blood was verred all over.
Then this tyraunt tite turnes the bridle,
Talkes untenderly and says: "Thou art touched!
Us bus have a blood-band ere thy blee change! 166
For all the barbours of Bretain shall not thy blood staunch, 167
For he that is blemist with this brode brande blinne shall he never! 168
"Ya," quod Sir Gawain, "thou greves me but little.
Thou weenes to glopin me with thy grete wordes;
Thou trowes with thy talking that my herte talmes;
Thou betides torfer ere thou henne turn
But thou tell me tite and tarry no lenger
What may staunch this blood that thus fast runnes."
"Yis, I say thee soothly and seker thee my trewth,
No surgeon in Salerne shall save thee the better,
With-thy that thou suffer me for sake of thy Crist
To shew shortly my shrift and shape me for mine end." 169
"Yis," quod Sir Gawain, "so me God help,
I give thee grace and graunt, though thou have gref served, 170
With-thy thou say me sooth what thou here seekes,
Thus singly and sulain all thyself one,
And what lay thou leves on - laine not the sooth -
And what legeaunce and land and where thou art lord."
"My name is Sir Priamus, a prince is my fader,
Praised in his partyes with proved kinges;
In Rome there he regnes he is rich holden;
He has been rebel to Rome and ridden their landes,
Warrayand wisely winters and yeres
By wit and by wisdom and by wight strenghe
And by worshipful war his owen has he won.
He is of Alexander blood, overling of kinges;
The uncle of his aiele, Sir Ector of Troy.
And here is the kinreden that I am of come,
Of Judas and Josue, these gentle knightes;
I am apparent his eier, and eldes of other;
Of Alexandere and Afrike and all tho out-landes
I am in possession and plenerly sesed.
In all the pris citees that to the port longes
I shall have trewly the tresure and the landes
And both tribute and tax whiles my time lastes.
I was so hautain of herte whiles I at home lenged
I held none my hip-height under heven rich;
For-thy was I sent hider with seven score knightes
To assay of this war by sente of my fader;
And I am for surquidrie shamely surprised
And by aunter of armes outrayed for ever!
Now have I told thee the kin that I of come,
Will thou for knighthede ken me thy name?"
"By Crist," quod Sir Gawain, "knight was I never!
With the kidd conquerour a knave of his chamber
Has wrought in his wardrope winters and yeres
On his long armour that him best liked;
I poine all his paviliouns that to himselve pendes,
Dightes his doublettes for dukes and erles,
Aketouns avenaunt for Arthur himselven
That he has used in war all these eight winter!
He made me yomen at Yole and gave me grete giftes,
An hundreth pound, and a horse, and harness full rich."
"Yif I hap to my hele that hende for to serve 171
I be holpen in haste, I hete thee for-sooth!
If his knaves be such, his knightes are noble!
There is no king under Crist may kempe with him one!
He will be Alexander eier that all the world louted,
Abler than ever was Sir Ector of Troy!
Now for the crisom that thou caught that day thou was cristened,
Whether thou be knight or knave knowe now the sooth."
"My name is Sir Gawain, I graunt thee for-sooth
Cosin to the conquerour, he knowes it himselven,
Kidd in his kalender a knight of his chamber,
And rolled the richest of all the Round Table!
I am the douspeer and duke he dubbed with his handes
Daintily on a day before his dere knightes;
Grouch not, good sir, though me this grace happen;
It is the gift of God; the gree is his owen!"
"Peter!" says Priamus, "now payes me better
Than I of Provence were prince and of Paris rich!
For me were lever privily be priked to the herte 172
Than ever any priker had such a prise wonnen.
But here is herberd at hand in yon huge holtes,
Hole batailes on high, take heed if thee like!
The Duke of Lorraine the derf and his dere knightes,
The doughtiest of Dolfinede and Dutch-men many,
The lordes of Lumbardy that leders are holden,
The garnison of Goddard gaylich arrayed,
The wyes of the Westfale, worshipful bernes,
Of Sessoine and Suryland Sarazenes ynow;
They are numbered full nigh and named in rolles
Sixty thousand and ten, for sooth, of seker men of armes;
But if thou hie fro this hethe, it harmes us bothe,
And but my hurtes be soon holpen, hole be I never!
Take heed to this hansemen, that he no horn blow,
Or thou hiely in haste bes hewen all to peces, 173
For they are my retinues to ride where I will;
Is none redier renkes regnand in erthe;
Be thou raght with that rout, thou rides no further,
Ne thou bes never ransouned for riches in erthe!"
Sir Gawain went ere the wathe come where him best liked,
With this worthilich wye that wounded was sore,
Merkes to the mountain there our men lenges
Baitand their blonkes there on the brode mede,
Lordes lenand low on lemand sheldes,
With loud laughters on loft for liking of birdes,
Or larkes, of linkwhites, that lovelich songen;
And some was sleght on sleep with slight of the pople 174
That sang in the sesoun in the sheen shawes,
So low in the laundes so likand notes.
Then Sir Wicher was ware their warden was wounded
And went to him weepand and wringand his handes;
Sir Wecharde, Sir Walter, these wise men of armes
Had wonder of Sir Wawain and went him againes,
Met him in the mid-way and marvel them thought
How he mastered that man, so mighty of strenghes.
By all the welth of the world so wo was them never:
"For all our worship, iwis, away is in erthe!"
"Greve you not," quod Gawain, "for Goddes love of heven,
For this is but gosesomer and given on erles;
Though my shoulder be shrede and my sheld thirled,
And the weld of mine arm workes a little,
This prisoner, Sir Priamus, that has perilous woundes,
Says that he has salves shall soften us bothen."
Then stertes to his stirrup sterenfull knightes,
And he lordly alightes and laght off his bridle,
And let his burlich blonk baite on the flowres,
Braides off his bacenett and his rich weedes,
Bounes to his brode sheld and bowes to the erthe;
In all the body of that bold is no blood leved!
Then presses to Sir Priamus precious knightes,
Avisely of his horse hentes him in armes
His helm and his hawberk they taken off after,
And hastely for his hurt all his herte changed;
They laid him down in the laundes and laght off his weedes,
And he lened him on long or how him best liked.
A foil of fine gold they fande at his girdle,
That is full of the flowr of the four welle
That flowes out of Paradise when the flood rises,
That much fruit of falles that feed shall us all;
Be it frette on his flesh there sinews are entamed,
The freke shall be fish-hole within four houres.
They uncover that corse with full clene handes,
With clere water a knight clenses their woundes,
Keled them kindly and comforted their hertes;
And when the carves were clene they cledde them again.
Barrel-ferrers they broched and brought them the wine, 175
Both brede and brawn and bredes full rich;
When they had eten anon they armed after.
Then tho auntrend men " As armes!" ascries, 176
With a clarioun clere thir knightes togeder
Calles to counsel and of this case telles:
"Yonder is a company of clene men of armes,
The keenest in contek that under Crist lenges;
In yon oken wood an host are arrayed,
Under-takand men of these oute-landes,
As says Sir Priamus, so help Saint Peter!
Go men," quod Gawain, "and grope in your hertes
Who shall graithe to yon greve to yon grete lordes;
If we get-less go home, the king will be greved
And say we are gadlinges, aghast for a little.
We are with Sir Florent, as to-day falles,
That is flowr of Fraunce, for he fled never;
He was chosen and charged in chamber of the king
Cheftain of this journee, with chevalry noble;
Whether he fight or he flee we shall follow after;
For all the fere of yon folk forsake shall I never!"
"Fader," says Sir Florent, "full fair ye it tell!
But I am but a fauntekin, unfraisted in armes;
If any folly befall the faut shall be ours
And fremedly o Fraunce be flemed for ever!
Woundes not your worship, my wit is but simple,
Ye are our warden, iwis; work as you likes."
"Ye are at the ferrest not passand five hundreth
And that is fully too few to fight with them all,
For harlottes and hansemen shall help but little;
They will hie them henn for all their grete wordes!
I rede ye work after wit, as wise men of armes,
And warpes wilily away, as worshipful knightes."
"I graunt," quod Sir Gawain, "so me God help!
But here are some galiard gomes that of the gree serves,
The cruelest knightes of the kinges chamber,
That can carp with the cup knightly wordes;
We shall prove today who shall the prise win!"
Now forreours fers unto the firth rides
And fanges a fair feld and on foot lightes,
Prikes after the prey, as pris men of armes,
Florent and Floridas, with five score knightes,
Followed in the forest and on the way foundes,
Flingand a fast trot and on the folk drives.
Then followes fast to our folk well a five hundreth
Of frek men to the firth upon fresh horses;
One Sir Feraunt before, upon a fair steed,
Was fostered in Famacoste; the fend was his fader;
He flinges to Sir Florent and prestly he cries:
"Why flees thou, false knight? The Fend have thy soul!"
Then Sir Florent was fain and in fewter castes,
On Fawnell of Frisland to Feraunt he rides,
And raght in the rein on the steed rich,
And rides toward the rout, restes he no lenger!
Full butt in the front he flishes him even,
And all disfigures his face with his fell wepen!
Through his bright bacenett his brain has he touched,
And brusten his neck-bone that all his breth stopped! 177
Then his cosin ascried and cried full loud:
"Thou has killed cold-dede the king of all knightes!
He has been fraisted on feld in fifteen rewmes;
He fand never no freke might fight with him one!
Thou shall die for his dede, with my derf wepen,
And all the doughty for dole that in yon dale hoves!"
"Fy," says Sir Floridas, "thou fleryand wretch!
Thou weenes for to flay us, floke-mouthed shrew!"
But Floridas with a sword, as he by glentes,
All the flesh of the flank he flappes in sonder
That all the filth of the freke and fele of his guttes
Followes his fole foot when he forth rides!
Then rides a renk to rescue that berne;
That was Raynald of the Rodes, and rebel to Crist,
Perverted with paynims that Cristen persewes,
Presses in proudly as the prey wendes,
For he had in Prussland much prise wonnen;
For-thy in presence there he proffers so large.
But then a renk, Sir Richere of the Round Table,
On a real steed rides him againes;
Through a round red sheld he rushed him soon
That the rosseld spere to his herte runnes!
The renk reeles about and rushes to the erthe,
Rores full rudly but rode he no more!
Now all that is fere and unfey of these five hundreth
Falles on Sir Florent and five score knightes,
Betwix a plash and a flood, upon a flat land;
Our folk fangen their feld and fought them againes;
Then was loud upon loft "Lorraine!" ascried,
When ledes with long speres lashen togeders,
And "Arthur!" on our side when them ought ailed.
Then Sir Florent and Floridas in fewter they cast,
Frushen on all the frap and bernes affrayed,
Felles five at the front there they first entered
And, ere they ferk further, fele of these other;
Brenyes brouden they briste, brittened sheldes,
Betes and beres down the best that them bides;
All that rewled in the rout they riden away,
So rudly they rere, these real knightes!
When Sir Priamus, that prince, perceived their gamen,
He had pitee in herte that he ne durste proffer;
He went to Sir Gawain and says him these wordes:
"Thy pris men for thy prey put are all under;
They are with Sarazenes over-set, mo than seven hundreth
Of the Sowdanes knightes, out of sere landes;
Wolde thou suffer me, sir, for sake of thy Crist
With a sop of thy men suppowel them ones."
"I grouch not," quod Gawain, "the gree is their owen;
They mon have guerdons full grete graunt of my lord;
But the frek men of Fraunce fraist themselven;
Frekes fought not their fill this fifteen winter!
I will not stir with my stale half a steed lenghe,
But they be stedde with more stuff than on yon stede hoves!"
Then Sir Gawain was ware, withouten the wood-hemmes,
Wyes of the Westfale, upon wight horses,
Walopand wodely as the way forthes,
With all the wepens, iwis, that to the war longes;
The erl Antele the old the avauntward he buskes,
Ayerand on either hand eight thousand knightes;
His pelours and pavisers passed all in number
That ever any prince lede purveyed in erthe!
Then the Duke of Lorraine dresses thereafter
With double of the Dutch-men that doughty were holden,
Paynims of Prussland, prikers full noble,
Come prikand before with Priamus knightes.
Then said the erl Antele to Algere his brother:
"Me angers ernestly at Arthures knightes,
Thus enkerly on an host aunters themselven!
They will be outrayed anon, ere undron ring,
Thus foolily on a feld to fight with us all!
But they be fesed, in fey, ferly me thinkes; 178
Wolde they purpose take and pass on their wayes,
Prik home to their prince and their prey leve,
They might lenghen their life and losen but little,
It wolde lighten my herte, so help me our Lord!"
"Sir," says Sir Algere, "they have little used
To be outrayed with host; me angers the more!
The fairest shall be full fey that in our flock rides,
Als few as they ben, ere they the feld leve!"
Then good Gawain, gracious and noble,
All with glorious glee he gladdes his knightes:
"Glopins not, good men, for glitterand sheldes,
Though yon gadlinges be gay on yon grete horses!
Bannerettes of Bretain, buskes up your hertes!
Bes not baist of yon boyes ne of their bright weedes!
We shall blenke their boste, for all their bold proffer,
Als buxom as bird is in bed to her lord!
Yif we fight today, the feld shall be ours,
The fekil fey shall fail and falssede be destroyed! 179
Yon folk is on frontere, unfraisted them seemes;
They make faith and faye to the Fend selven!
We shall in this viage victores be holden
And avaunted with voices of valiant bernes,
Priased with princes in presence of lordes
And loved with ladies in diverse landes!
Ought never such honour none of our elders,
Unwine ne Absolon ne none of these other!
When we are most in distress Marie we mene
That is our master's saine that he much traistes,
Meles of that milde queen that menskes us all;
Who-so meles of that maid, miscarries he never!"
By these wordes were said they were not fer behind,
But the lenghe of a land and "Lorraine!" ascries;
Was never such a jousting at journee in erthe
In the vale of Josephate, as gestes us telles,
When Julius and Joatelle were judged to die,
As was when the rich men of the Round Table
Rushed into the rout on real steedes,
For so rathely they rush with rosseld speres
That the rascal was rade and ran to the greves,
And kaired to that court as cowardes for ever!
"Peter!" says Sir Gawain, "this gladdes mine herte,
That yon gadlinges are gone that made grete number!
I hope that these harlottes shall harm us but little,
For they will hide them in haste in yon holt eves;
They are fewer on feld than they were first numbered
By fourty thousand, in faith, for all their fair hostes."
But one Jolyan of Gene, a giaunt full huge,
Has joined on Sir Gerard, a justice of Wales;
Through a jerownde sheld he jagges him through,
And a fine gesseraunt of gentle mailes;
Jointer and gemous he jagges in sonder!
On a jambe steed this journee he makes;
Thus is the giaunt for-jouste, that erraunt Jew,
And Gerard is jocound and joyes him the more.
Then the genatours of Gene enjoines at ones
And ferkes on the frontere well a five hundreth;
A freke hight Sir Frederik with full fele other
Ferkes on a frush and freshlich ascries
To fight with our forreours that on feld hoves;
And then the real renkes of the Round Table
Rode forth full ernestly and rides them againes,
Melles with the middle-ward, but they were ill-matched; 180
Of such a grete multitude was marvel to here.
Senn at the assemblee the Sarazenes discoveres
The soveraign of Sessoine that salved was never;
Giauntes for-jousted with gentle knightes
Through gesserauntes of Gene jagged to the herte!
They hew through helmes hautain bernes,
That the hilted swordes to their hertes runnes!
Then the renkes renowned of the Round Table
Rives and rushes down renayed wretches;
And thus they driven to the dede dukes and erles
All the dregh of the day, with dredful workes!
Then Sir Priamus the prince, in presence of lordes,
Presses to his penoun and pertly it hentes,
Reverted it redily and away rides
To the real rout of the Round Table;
And hiely his retinue raikes him after,
For they his resoun had redde on his sheld rich.
Out of the sheltron they shed as sheep of a fold,
And steeres forth to the stour and stood by their lord.
Senn they sent to the duke and said him these wordes:
"We have been thy soudeours these six yere and more;
We forsake thee today by sert of our lord.
We sew to our soveraign in sere kinges landes;
Us defautes our fee of this four winteres.
Thou art feeble and false and nought but fair wordes;
Our wages are wered out and thy war ended;
We may with worship wend whither us likes!
I rede thou trete of a trewe and troufle no lenger,
Or thou shall tinne of thy tale ten thousand ere even."
" Fy a diables!" said the duke, "the Devil have your bones!" 181
The daunger of yon dogges drede shall I never!
We shall dele this day, by deedes of armes,
My dede and my duchery and my dere knightes;
Such soudeours as ye I set but at little,
That sodenly in defaut forsakes their lord!"
The duke dresses in his sheld and dreches no lenger,
Drawes him a dromedary with dredful knightes;
Graithes to Sir Gawain with full grete number
Of gomes of Gernaide that grevous are holden.
Those fresh horsed men to the front rides,
Felles of our forreours by fourty at ones!
They had foughten before with a five hundreth;
It was no ferly, in faith, though they faint waxen.
Then Sir Gawain was greved and grippes his spere,
And girdes in again with galiard knightes,
Meetes the Marches of Meyes and melles him through, 182
As man of this middle-erthe that most had greved!
But one Chastelayne, a child of the kinges chamber,
Was ward to Sir Wawain of the west marches,
Chases to Sir Cheldrik, a cheftain noble;
With a chasing-spere he shockes him through!
This check him escheved by chaunces of armes.
So they chase that child eschape may he never;
But one Swyan of Swecy, with a sword edge,
The swyers swire-bone he swappes in sonder!
He swoonand died and on the swarth lenged,
Sweltes even swiftly and swank he no more!
Then Sir Gawain gretes with his gray eyen;
The guite was a good man, beginnand of armes.
For the chery child so his cheer changed
That the chilland water on his cheekes runned!
"Wo is me," quod Gawain, "that I ne witten had!
I shall wage for that wye all that I weld,
But I be wroken on that wye that thus has him wounded!"
He dresses him drerily and to the duke rides,
But one Sir Dolphin the derf dight him againes,
And Sir Gawain him gird with a grim launce
That the grounden spere glode to his herte!
And egerly he hent out and hurt another,
An hethen knight, Hardolf, happy in armes;
Slyly in at the slot slittes him through
That the slidand spere of his hand slippes!
There is slain in that slope by sleghte of his handes 183
Sixty slongen in a slade of sleghe men of armes!
Though Sir Gawain were wo, he waites him by
And was ware of that wye that the child wounded,
And with a sword swiftly he swappes him through,
That he swiftly swelt and on the erthe swoones!
And then he raikes to the rout and rushes on helmes,
Rich hawberkes he rent and rased sheldes;
Rides on a randoun and his raik holdes;
Throughout the rereward he holdes wayes,
And there raght in the rein, this real the rich,
And rides into the rout of the Round Table.
Then our chevalrous men changen their horses,
Chases and choppes down cheftaines noble,
Hittes full hertely on helmes and sheldes,
Hurtes and hewes down hethen knightes!
Kettle-hattes they cleve even to the shoulders;
Was never such a clamour of capitaines in erthe!
There was kinges sonnes caught, courtais and noble,
And knightes of the countree that knowen was rich;
Lordes of Lorraine and Lumbardy bothen
Laght was and led in with our lele knightes.
Those that chased that day their chaunce was better;
Such a check at a chase escheved them never!
When Sir Florent by fight had the feld wonnen
He ferkes in before with five score knightes;
Their preyes and their prisoneres passes on after,
With pelours and pavisers and pris men of armes;
Then goodly Sir Gawain guides his knightes,
Gos in at the gainest, as guides him telles,
For gref of a garnison of full grete lordes
Sholde not grip up his gere ne such gram work;
For-thy they stood at the straightes and with his stale hoved,
Til his preyes were past the path that he dredes.
When they the citee might see that the king seged
(Soothly the same day was with assaut wonnen),
An heraud hies before at heste of the lordes,
Home at the herberage, out of the high landes,
Turnes tite to the tent and to the king telles
All the tale soothly and how they had sped:
"All thy forreours are fere that forrayed withouten,
Sir Florent and Sir Floridas and all thy fers knightes;
They have forrayed and foughten with full grete number
And fele of thy fo-men has brought out of life!
Our worshipful warden is well escheved,
For he has won today worship for ever;
He has Dolphin slain and the duke taken!
Many doughty is dede by dint of his handes!
He has prisoners pris, princes and erles,
Of the richest blood that regnes in erthe;
All thy chevalrous men fair are escheved,
But a child, Chastelain, mischaunce has befallen."
"Hautain," says the king, "heraud, by Crist,
Thou has heled mine herte, I hete thee for-sooth!
I give thee in Hampton a hundreth pound large!"
The king then to assaut he sembles his knightes
With somercastel and sowe upon sere halves,
Shiftes his skotiferes and scales the walles,
And ech watch has his ward with wise men of armes.
Then boldly they busk and bendes engines
Paises in pillotes and proves their castes.
Ministeres and masondewes they mall to the erthe, 184
Churches and chapels chalk-white blaunched,
Stone steeples full stiff in the street ligges,
Chambers with chimnees and many chef inns,
Paised and pelled down plastered walles;
The pine of the pople was pitee for to here!
Then the duchess her dight with damesels rich,
The countess of Crasine with her clere maidens,
Kneeles down in the kirnelles there the king hoved,
On a covered horse comlyly arrayed.
They knew him by countenaunce and cried full loud:
"King crowned of kind, take keep to these wordes!
We beseek you, sir, as soveraign and lord,
That ye save us today, for sake of your Crist!
Send us some succour and saughte with the pople,
Ere the citee be sodenly with assaut wonnen!"
He veres his vesar with a vout noble,
With visage virtuous, this valiant berne,
Meles to her mildly with full meek wordes:
"Shall none misdo you, madame, that to me longes;
I give you charter of pees, and your chef maidens,
The childer and the chaste men, the chevalrous knightes;
The duke is in daunger; dredes it but little!
He shall be deemed full well, dout you nought elles."
Then sent he on ech a side to certain lordes
For to leve the assaut; the citee was yolden
(With the erle eldest son he sent him the keyes)
And sesed the same night, by sent of the lordes.
The duke to Dover is dight and all his dere knightes,
To dwell in daunger and dole the dayes of his life.
There fled at the ferrer gate folk withouten number,
For ferd of Sir Florent and his fers knightes;
Voides the citee and to the wood runnes
With vitail and vessel, and vesture so rich;
They busk up a banner aboven the brode gates.
Of Sir Florent, in fay, so fain was he never!
The knighte hoves on a hill, beheld the walles,
And said: "I see by yon sign the citee is oures!"
Sir Arthur enters anon with hostes arrayed,
Even at the undron ettles to lenge.
In eche levere on loud the king did cry
On pain of life and limm and lesing of landes
That no lele lege-man that to him longed,
Sholde lie by no ladies, ne by no lele maidens,
Ne by no burgess wife, better ne worse
Ne no bernes misbid that to the burgh longed.
When the king Arthur had lely conquered
And the castel covered of the kith rich,
All the cruel and keen, by craftes of armes,
Capitains and constables, knew him for lord.
He devised and delt to diverse lordes
A dower for the duchess and her dere childer;
Wrought wardenes by wit to weld all the landes
That he had wonnen of war through his wise knightes.
Thus in Lorraine he lenges as lord in his owen,
Settes lawes in the land as him lef thought,
And on Lammas day to Lucerne he wendes,
Lenges there at leisere with liking ynow.
There his galleys were graithed, a full grete number,
All glitterand as glass, under green hilles,
With cabanes covered for kinges annointed
With clothes of clere gold for knightes and other;
Soon stowed their stuff and stabled their horses,
Strekes streke over the streme into the strait landes. 185
Now he moves his might with mirthes of herte
Over mountes so high, those marvelous wayes,
Gos in by Goddard, the garret he winnes,
Graithes the garnison grisly woundes!
When he was passed the height, then the king hoves
With his hole batail beholdand about,
Lookand on Lumbardy and on loud meles:
"In yon likand land lord be I think!" 186
Then they kaire to Combe with kinges annointed,
That was kidd of the coste, key of all other.
Sir Florent and Sir Floridas then foundes before
With freke men of Fraunce well a five hundreth;
To the citee unseen they sought at the gainest,
And set an enbushment, als themselve likes,
Then ishewes out of that citee, full soon by the morn;
Sleyly discoverers skiftes their horses;
Then skiftes these scowerers and skippes on hilles,
Discoverers for skulkers that they no scathe limpen. 187
Poverall and pastorelles passed on after
With porkes to pasture at the pris gates;
Boyes in the suburbes bourden full high
At a bore singlere that to the bente runnes.
Then brekes our bushment and the bridge winnes,
Braides into the burgh with banners displayed,
Stekes and stabbes through that them again-standes;
Four streetes, ere they stint, they stroyed forever!
Now is the conquerour in Combe and his court holdes
Within the kidd castel with kinges annointed,
Recounseles the commouns that to the kith longes,
Comfortes the care-full with knightly wordes,
Made a capitain keen a knight of his owen;
But all the countree and he full soon were accorded.
The Sire of Milan herde say the citee was wonnen,
And send to Arthur certain lordes,
Grete summes of gold, sixty horses charged,
Besought him as soveraign to succour the pople,
And said he wolde soothly be subjet forever,
And make him service and suite for his sere landes;
For Plesaunce, for Pawnce, and for Pownte Tremble,
For Pise and for Pavy he proffers full large
Both purpure and pall and precious stones,
Palfreyes for any prince and proved steedes
And ilk a yere for Milan a melion of gold,
Meekly at Martinmas to menske with his hordes, 188
And ever, withouten asking, he and his eiers
Be hommagers to Arthur whiles his life lastes.
The king by his counsel a condeth him sendes,
And he is comen to Combe and knew him as lord.
Into Tuskane he turnes when thus wel timed,
Takes townes full tite with towres full high;
Walles he welt down, wounded knightes,
Towres he turnes, and tourmentes the pople,
Wrought widowes full wlonk wrotherayle singen,
Oft werye and weep and wringen their handes;
And all he wastes with war there he away rides;
Their welthes and their wonninges wandreth he wrought!
Thus they springen and sprede and spares but little,
Spoiles dispiteously and spilles their vines,
Spendes unsparely that spared was long,
Speedes them to Spolett with speres ynow!
Fro Spain into Spruysland the word of him springes
And spekings of his spenses; despite is full huge. 189
Toward Viterbo this valiant aveeres the reines;
Avisely in that vale he vitailes his bernes,
With Vernage and other wine and venison baken
And on the Viscounte landes he vises to lenge.
Vertely the avauntward voides their horses
In the Vertenonne vale the vines i-monges;
There sujournes this soveraign with solace in herte,
To see when the Senatours sent any wordes,
Revel with rich wine, riotes himselven,
This roy with his real men of the Round Table,
With mirthes and melody and manykin gamnes;
Was never merrier men made on this erthe!
adversary; warred on
Left; vanguard; turned
piece of armor plate
eagerly; (see note)
Goes; i.e., the eagle
hurries; pulls; (see note)
stomach guard; pierced
rode around; left
flew; from afar
Germans; dealt; in return
troops hung back
most noble hastily
Attack; (see note)
did not cease
ordered themselves; bold
Fix lances; iron-gray
Duel; fiercely; flashing
Cut; gold ornaments; fastened
every stream; forest
By then; ground; lifeblood
rolling about; galloping
earth; created; (see note)
against many must pierce
entry; poorly protected
Against; privileged kind (powerful kinsmen)
loins; lower belly
wild; bowels pierced
goes; at the rank
royal person; (see note)
Defend yourself (On guard); (see note)
woefully; recover may
if you survive
i.e., the Host
told; i.e., absolution
arose to; stout
Men; cut; wrinkled
Fought; crowds; times
Presses hard; pushes
do you want
took out; lashed
skull; hand's breadth deep
noble stout sword
sorrow is the greater
Bloodied; (see note)
blow; reaches to (gives)
Aslant; base of throat
burst into pieces
battered to death; abroad
hastily; edges of the wood
pleasant; (see note)
on the ground
heralds quickly; command
embalmed; these strong
enclosed in chests
immediately at dawn
gowns (i.e., without armor)
shaved; men; suitably
Entrusted them to
no kind of
Gave; baggage, chests
tribute; (see note)
those; outer isles
no kind of
Burgundy; abode; more
Caen; race requires
Autumn; (see note)
July 25; (see note)
divide; deal out
deal; destiny allow
to ravage; (see note)
pleasing to see
Tuscany; trouble; (see note)
temporal lords (lay rulers)
region; Metz; manly
praised; (see note)
lord; (see note)
secure; siege engines
town cross bows; (see note)
Shoot; hostile expressions
surcoat (i.e., without armor)
to those within; shame
lack (equipment); wager
in haste shouting
forragers; many sides
on their arms; stately
Flashing; lightning; gleaming
Converge on; many
shield bearers; guards
Beat; main gate tower
Had not; garrison
as seemed good to them
king [of Lorraine]
grow feeble; no wonder
untried (i.e., weakened)
is lacking to them
go; mountains; forage
mountain; colorful; eager
gray; hazel copses
Grazing his horse
Holding on his arm; horse
servant; (see note)
couchant; (see note)
jowls; collars; (see note)
language; voice; (see note)
Unless; i.e., fight better
lay on; gray
Strike at random
span (six inches) deep
shoulder plate; hacks
visor, lower face-guard
think to terrify
pledge my word to you
religion; believe; hide
allegiance; (see note)
Judas Maccabeus; Joshua
his heir apparent
fully in possession
as tall as my hip
pride shamefully captured
pitch; tents; belong
Padded jackets seemly
yeoman (free man); Yule
Dauphine (in France)
garrison; Mt. Goddard
helped; whole (healthy)
If you are seized by
gossamer; to be expected
Carefully off; take
leaned (stretched out)
rubbed; where; cut
fit as a fish
roast; lean meat; breads
Father (i.e., Sir)
(Priamus speaks); most
go with wile
deserve a reward
Famagusta (on Cyprus)
Smack-dab; forehead; pierces
Prussia; praise (prize)
small troop; support
should; granted by
But let; bold; test
Galloping madly; goes forth
bowmen; shield bearers
double the number
Who thus eagerly
undern (9 a.m.)
worthless men; (see note)
Be; abashed by; knaves
in front untested
By the time that
length of the field
tales; (see note)
suppose; low fellows
judge; (see note)
gyronny; stabs; (see note)
coat of mail
horse soldiers; Genoa
outjousted by; (see note)
reason (intent); read
We lack our pay
lose; number (tally)
delays; (see note)
wonder; grow faint
i.e., young man
hunting spear; drives
young noble's neck bone
base of throat
slung; ditch; skillful
i.e., back to
i.e., kettle-shaped helmets
bowmen; shield bearers
goes; quickest way
herald; behest; (see note)
has well succeeded
Valiant man; herald
moveable towers; shelters
Moves about; shield bearers
Heave; pellets; try
by right; heed
turns up; visor; expression
fear; (see note)
victuals; precious vessels
undern (9 a.m.); intends
Mt. Goddard; watch tower
i.e., of Lake Como
Slyly scouts manage; (see note)
Poor people; shepherds
breaks out; ambush
purple dye; silk
fair misery to sing
Plunder pitilessly; destroy
without stinting; saved
white wine; baked
many sorts of pleasures
Go To The Alliterative Morte Arthure, Part IV